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Offense Adapts To Griffin III’s Limitations

Posted Dec 23, 2012

The Redskins’ offense changed it up Sunday as Robert Griffin III continues to recover from a sprained LCL.


With 6:01 remaining in the first quarter of Sunday’s game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III lined up in the shotgun, took the snap and couldn’t find an open receiver.

Griffin III took off to his right and ducked out of bounds after just five yards.

Three games ago, Griffin III might’ve tried to cut back upfield for a few more yards. But nursing a still-recovering sprained LCL in his right knee – an injury that had him wearing a bulky brace on Sunday – the rookie quarterback took a more conservative approach this time around.

“I was just getting out of bounds,” Griffin III recalled after the game. “Five yards is fine on any down, so we just want to get ourselves in a good position so I took the liberty of taking a nice stroll to the sidelines.”

The play was just the first of several examples in which the Redskins’ offense adapted to the temporary limitations that Griffin III’s healing knee presented. Instead, Griffin III was satisfied with delivering throws from the pocket and allowing the team’s other playmakers to get large chunks of yardage.

“That’s why they call me quarterback,” Griffin III said. “It’s not abbreviated with a running quarterback before that or whatever else anyone wants to say. They call me quarterback because I lead the team. I’m supposed to go out there and hand the ball off to [Alfred Morris], and that’s what I was able to do.”

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he thought Griffin III did an “excellent job” leading the offense after missing last week’s game vs. the Cleveland Browns.

“Coming back and not having the reps last week and being able to do what he did today, that was very impressive,” Shanahan said.

The third-year Redskins coach admitted the Washington offense “did not do everything” it would normally do with Griffin III at 100 percent.

“I did not want to put that pressure on that LCL,” Shanahan said.

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said his team knew coming into the game that Griffin III likely wouldn’t be looking to run the ball as much as usual.

“After we saw him the first drive, we said, ‘No, he’s not really trying to run today. All we have to do is stop the run and get after him on the pass,’” Graham said.

Easier said than done.

“It didn’t happen that way, and he gashed us a lot, especially on the pass,” Graham said.

Griffin III completed 16-of-24 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns – an 11-yard play to wide receiver Joshua Morgan in the second quarter and a 22-yard strike to Santana Moss late in the third quarter that ended up being the deciding score.

As for the brace, the rookie quarterback said he thinks he’ll continue building confidence as his knee get back to full strength.

“[A brace] is going to restrict your motion, so from that my mobility was down a little bit just because of the brace,” Griffin III said. “But at the same time, I was still able to do everything a quarterback is supposed to do.

“It didn’t necessarily slow me down by any means, and I was able to protect myself out there at any time.”

Winners of six straight, the Redskins (9-6) play the Dallas Cowboys (8-7) next Sunday at FedExField in a game that will likely determine the NFC East champion.

Griffin III said he’s happy to be back and battling for his team.

“We’re rolling and we all know that,” he said. “We know that we can win any kind of game and we have to, whether it’s a high-scoring game or a low-scoring game or a gut-wrencher at the end.

“So it’s good to be in this position and we’ve controlled our own destiny since we were 3-6 and we continue to control our destiny until next week.”

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